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Clarendon/Montrose Development Approved Despite Dissent From 13 Aldermen

 An aerial view rendering of the proposed JDL development.
An aerial view rendering of the proposed JDL development.
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Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture

CITY HALL — For the second day in a row, Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) unsuccessfully led a dissent against the development of a luxury apartment building in the Clarendon/Montrose Tax Increment Financing District in Uptown, which required $15.8 million in TIF funds.

The City Council on Wednesday passed the proposal by a 37-13 vote. No votes came from: Ald. Joe Moreno (1st); Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd); Ald. Susan Garza (10th); Ald. George Cardenas (12th); Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22); Ald. Scott Waguespack (32); Ald. Deb Mell (33); Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th); Ald. Brendan Reilly (42); Ald. Michele Smith (43); Ald. John Arena (45th); Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th); and Osterman.

“I respectfully stand in opposition to this TIF proposal," Osterman told City Council on Wednesday, adding the city was giving developers a large amount of TIF funds "for luxury apartments on the North Side lakefront.”

“I want economic development in Uptown and Edgewater ... but I think there’s a better way to do it,” Osterman said.

Tuesday, Osterman, whose ward includes Uptown, but not the portion where the development is slated, argued similarly that the development will be the most northern development on prime lakefront and didn't require city financing. The finance committee approved the development with 18 yes votes and two no votes.

The project being developed by Montrose Clarendon Partners LLC, which was created specifically for the project, is in the 46th Ward. The LLC is owned James Letchinger, of JDL Development, and Harlem Irving Companies.

“This property has been vacant for 10 years, and no one else has stepped forward," said Ald. James Cappleman (46th), adding there was no money in the TIF, and development would produce $2 million-$3 million in property taxes.

The Clarendon Montrose TIF District was created in 2010 to foster development near Clarendon Park. The 31-acre district "is characterized by vacant institutional buildings, public open spaces and community facilities" with no tax-generating properties in the district when it was formed, according to the City of Chicago website.

The approved proposal includes redevelopment of the property on the west side of Clarendon Avenue into a 26-story mixed-use building with 381 residential units, a grocery store and 278 parking spaces.

Five percent of the units in the building — amounting to 20 total units — will be affordable units, with half of those units reserved for households earning less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income, according to a report from the Department of Planning and Development.

The property on the east side of Clarendon Avenue will include a one-story building with retail space with 11 exterior parking spaces. The total project will cost an estimated $125,044,198, and the TIF financing would make up about 12.7 percent of the total cost, the report said.

Market-rate studio apartments would cost $1,688, 1-bedroom apartments would cost $2,079 and 2-bedroom apartments would cost $2,637. The project is estimated to created 550-675 constructions jobs, according to the report.

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